NGO Roles and Anticipated Outcomes in Environmental Participatory Processes: A Typology

Itay Greenspan*, Galit Cohen-Blankshtain, Yinnon Geva

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Despite the plethora of research on environmental participatory processes, the forms of nongovernmental organization (NGO) involvement in these processes, and the influence of their involvement on participation outcomes, are still under-conceptualized. This article aims to develop a conceptual typology for NGO roles in environmental participatory processes and to suggest how these roles might be associated with participation outcomes. Following a review of public participation literature and NGO capacities, we present four prototypes of NGO roles along two axes: orientation axis and nature of involvement axis. The prototypes include Entrepreneur, Service-Provider, Enabler, and Partner. We then offer an empirical illustration of the typology using eight case studies across the globe and discuss how the four NGO roles might be associated with outcomes of participatory processes. The framework acknowledges the complex, sometimes limited, contribution of NGOs to participatory processes and suggests practical implications.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)633-657
Number of pages25
JournalNonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to thank Eran Feitelson and Hagit Naali-Josep for their contribution to early phases of this project. The Society for Protection of Nature in Israel (SPNI) sponsored the workshop on public participation where the seeds of this article budded. We received valuable comments on an earlier version from participants in the Innovation in Climate Governance (INOGOV) workshop (Bordeaux, 2017). Finally, we thank three anonymous reviewers and NVSQ?s area editor Michael Meyer for their vital advice and useful comments. The author(s) received no financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2021.


  • NGO role typology
  • environmental NGOs
  • participation outcomes
  • participatory governance
  • public participation


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